As an Indian, the real and true American, I ask our white brothers a very serious question about Thanksgiving: How can I celebrate this day?

The act of expressing and giving thanks is what our people shared with the Pilgrims upon their arrival to our homeland.

This, along with many other things that we shared with those original refugees, was our way of greeting those newcomers to our homeland. With open arms of love, respect, acceptance and tolerance. And then, in time, only to be repaid with the theft of our homeland through genocide.

We are still your brother, and you are still our killer.

Some things Indians should be thankful for. Our losses and our blessings.

Loss of our homeland “Oskigineeweekog,” which is now known as America. Loss of over 90 percent of our people through genocide. Loss of our freedom through our incarceration on those white man-created reservations/internment camps. Loss of our spirituality. Loss of our language. Loss of our traditional knowledge and teachings.

Loss of our pride. Loss of our self-respect. Loss of our identity as Indian people. Loss of our right to teach our children about being Indian and about being human even after the forced white man’s education at their Indian “boarding schools.”

We give thanks that we are still here. We have survived the Great American Holocaust.

We give thanks that within our collective DNA we carry the great wisdom, resilience, determination, as well as the tremendous will to live, of our ancestors. Those very same characteristics kept our people, our nation, strong, united and always looking out for the interests and well-being of The Ancestors, The People and The Seventh Generation.

We end with the words of a very wise elder: “We must love one another or die.”

These are the words of a child of genocide.

Dan Ennis

Traditional Medicine Elder of the Wulustukyieg